New marijuana microbusiness opens in Niles

Published 4:30 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

NILES — A new marijuana business opened its doors to the Niles community Wednesday.

After more than two years of development, Class A cannabis microbusiness Firefly Smallbatch Cannabis has opened its doors to the public Wednesday at 919 Michigan St., Niles, much to the joy of co-owners Matt Rosinko and Michael Felder.

The business will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week.

A marijuana caregiver for more than 10 years, Rosinko moved to Niles from Indiana 10 years ago for medical reasons and to pursue growth in the industry. Felder, who has been friends with Rosinko since high school and has a background in real estate and hospitality, decided to partner with Rosinko and open up a cannabis microbusiness.

In Michigan, a Class A microbusiness license allows the licensee to grow up to 300 marijuana plants, process them on-site, and sell directly to the recreational marijuana consumer. In addition, it allows them to purchase and sell mature plants, edibles and other products from licensed operators. 

“That’s the reason we got the microbusiness Class A license,” Felder said. “We didn’t just want to be a dispensary and offer other people’s products. We take pride in what (Rosinko) does behind the scenes so we wanted to showcase that.”

“We can offer all of the products that all these other places have,” Rosinko added. “Really, there’s no difference between us. We’re basically a dispensary that grows our own flowers. We’re looking very much forward to offering some of those same great products that everybody else knows while bringing in a brand new flower brand that we hope is going to create a buzz, literally. We’re hoping it takes off.”

After receiving licensing in 2021, the duo reached an agreement with Glen Millin, owner of the 919 Michigan St. property formerly home to On Sight Armory and Lightning Automotive, to lease out space for a microbusiness. After more than a year of construction setbacks, Firefly was finally able to flap its wings and open for business this week.

(Millin) has just been just great to work with,” Felder said. “He’s been with us and encouraged us every step of the way. He owns businesses in the area, he’s been a police officer in the area. He’s just been very gracious with us and helped us get through this process.”

Rosinko and Felder believe that being a smaller operation allows them to produce a quality product with more attention to detail.

“First and foremost it’s gonna be compassion and just the love for the plant,” Rosinko said. “Secondly, smallbatch is in our name for a reason. We’re a little bit smaller, especially when it comes to our flower, compared to some of these other facilities. That’s gonna give us the ability to hand-inspect, hand-trip, hand-water a lot of this stuff and just give much closer attention to detail in some of these guys with thousands of plants. We really expect our quality to be a little bit higher than some of the other flowers out there.”

“And we can do it at a price, which is exciting,” Felder added. “(Rosinko) is one of the best in the game, in my opinion. That’s why I felt comfortable getting into this endeavor.”

After renovating the space, the duo said the process leading up to the opening was long but worth it. With the facility finally open, Rosinko and Felder encouraged community members to stop by to see what the “buzz” is about.

“I really hope we can just leave a mark on the area and make people happy because it’s awesome to see somebody else smiling, Rosinko said. 

“I was in the restaurant industry for a long time, bartender, server, manager, all that fun stuff,” Felder added. “When somebody’s like ‘this was the best experience,’ ‘I can’t wait to come back,’ that’s what does it for me. I carried that into real estate and I get to do it again in a new industry. It’s very exciting and we take the customers’ experience very seriously.”